Monday, May 9, 2011

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

If you had to describe Buddy Holly's stage presence one word comes to mind. Energy. His music seemed much more frenetic than his counterparts. Maybe it was just me but I thought he took Rockabilly to the next level. 

I know he was fond of looking for the next big improvement and never satisfied with tinkering with "his sound". From what I understand, he was the first to use strings in a rock and roll record. He did the unheard of and moved from his native Texas to New York City to be closer to the recording studios. Buddy really was interested in the tech end of the business.

Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly was a great song writer as well as an excellent musician. As a junior high school student I owned one of his albums. Sure wish I still had it. Reminiscing was about as good a rock and roll album as anyone could want. I don't remember if I bought it after he died or right before. But I do remember learning almost every song on the big record. 

Buddy Holly was tops. He was at the top of the field standing shoulder to shoulder with the best in the business. I will always  prefer a Buddy Holly to just about anything the radio can throw at me. Dammit, another talented kid killed in his youth.

Buddy Holly

Buddy's death hit me like JFK's. I can tell you exactly where I was when I heard the news. Riding to Junior High with my mother in a 58 Edsel. A cold winter's morning. The day the music died. 

Thanks to Don McLean for that song. It was well placed. Now it's May of 2011. I was in a Wendy's in San Antonio finishing a quick burger about to go do a little sporting clay fun when four teenagers came in. The boys were standing in line and the one in the rear started singing Don McLean's song. After I finished and started for the door the boy came into my path. I asked him if he was the one singing about the day the music died. He said he was. I asked him if he knew what the song was about. He said no. I told him it was about Buddy Holly's death. The boy looked at me with wide eyes and says, "interesting".

Buddy Holly and the Crickets
I went to my pick up thinking, interesting, that seemed like a mild response but then this kid probably had no idea who Buddy Holly was so how could it have been important to him.

Time marches on. I have no words to tell you how much that death affected that little junior high school that day. The boisterous bunch was subdued for once. I won't forget Buddy or that day. I think it was the day we all realized what mortality meant.

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The day the music died....bye bye Buddy Holly. He was one of the best with nothing ahead but great potential. Killed by a plane crash that should have been avoided simply by exercising a little more patience. Another shooting star gone way too soon.

John Boykin

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